England all-rounder Ben Stokes has once again found himself in hot water, this time on the cusp of facing disciplinary action for verbally abusing a fan while on his way back to the pavilion after being dismissed for just two runs against South Africa.

The incident happened on Day 1 of the fourth Test between England and South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday. The all-rounder was shown his way back to the hut by right-arm quick Anrich Nortje, and while on his way back, the 28-year-old was caught on camera as saying, "Come say that to me outside the ground, you f***ing four-eyed c***” to a fan.

It is understood that his reaction came after the spectator likened him to the singer, Ed Sheeran.

The cricket has since apologized for the incident, admitting that as a professional he shouldn’t have let his emotions get the better of his actions.

"I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal. I should not have reacted in that way. As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd.

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"I admit that my reaction was unprofessional, and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world. Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans (England and South Africa) has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win."

Regardless of the fact though, Stokes could be found guilty of breaching the ICC code of conduct under Article 2.3: "use of an audible obscenity during an international match".  This can be followed by him earning one demerit point. However, if he is charged under Article 3.3, "threat of assault on a player, team official, or spectator", there is a risk of earning five or six demerit points and a suspension.

As per the ICC regulations, a player earning four demerit points within the 24-month period will be banned for either one Test, two ODIs or two T20s.

Ahead of the fourth Test in Johannesburg, pacer Kagiso Rabada was also found guilty of breaching the Level one of ICC Code of Conduct and thus missed the final Test of the series.

The 24-year-old was penalized for his celebration after dismissing England captain Joe Root during the first day of the third Test in Port Elizabeth and was fined 15 percent of his match fee coupled with earning one demerit point.

The ban came on the back of “using language, actions or gestures which disparage, or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his or her dismissal during an international match”. The pacer admitted the offence after the day’s play, thus there was no need for any formal hearing.

Dismissing the England captain, Rabada rushed towards Root and screamed in an extremely animated manner. The likes of Rassie van der Dussen and Pieter Malan were quick in pulling him away, but the harm was already done. Rabada has already earned three demerit points – all at Port Elizabeth.

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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Parks